The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health

We all know smoking is bad for your health, but how does it impact your oral health in particular? Is it as bad as the effects of alcohol consumption? To maintain healthy gums, it is advisable to quit the habit entirely. You may find it surprising to learn that smoking is considered one of the major reasons for dental problems.  Knowing the ill effects that smoking has on your teeth and mouth may motivate you to quit it faster.

Effects on Your Oral Health

The most common issue with smokers is bad breath. Smoking also makes it hard for gum tissue to repair itself and can cause a variety of serious health complications, from tooth discolouration to oral cancer. It also reduces your ability to recover from surgery, which makes this particular unhealthy habit the most significant reason for gum or periodontal diseases. Inflammation and irritation can occur around the tooth due to cigarette smoking which can affect the bone and other supporting structures. If not taken care of, it can eventually result in tooth loss.

Consumption of tobacco, especially the smokeless kind, increases the risk of oral cancer. The problem is aggravated because of the large number of blood vessels and lymph nodes present in the head and neck.

Simply put, long-term smoking can cause tooth decay, as well as create problems for restorative dentistry. Even the aesthetic outcome of the treatment may not be satisfactory since smoking discolours teeth.

Here are the impacts of smoking and using tobacco products on your oral health:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Stained teeth and a discoloured tongue
  • Loss of ability to taste and smell
  • An increased buildup of plaque and tartar
  • Reduced recovery rate after any oral treatment or surgery
  • Increased problems during cosmetic dental corrections
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Oral cancer

a)   Gum Disease

Smoking and consuming tobacco products affect the bone attachment and soft tissue in your teeth. It also interferes with the regular function of the cells in your gum tissue. As a result, smokers tend to be more vulnerable to infections such as gingivitis and periodontal diseases. Disrupted blood flow to the gums also complicates the healing of surgical wounds.

b)   Cancer

Everyone knows that smoking causes lung and throat cancer, but what some people may not know is that it is the primary reason for oral cancer as well. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes can cause lip cancer, while chewing smokeless tobacco products causes cancer of the gums and the inner lining of cheeks and lips.

A study has shown that oral cancer can be caused by second-hand smoke.

c)    Staining

The nicotine and tar present in tobacco stains teeth. Smoking can yellow teeth quickly, while heavy smokers can see their teeth turn almost brown over long periods of time.

The Remedy

1.   Quitting Smoking

If you want to reverse the effect of smoking on your teeth and gums, quitting is the best – if not the easiest – solution. Nicotine present in cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco is, after all, addictive. To fight back, construct a plan and build a support network to help you stick to it. Regular physical activity, chewing gum and keeping yourself busy will also help you quit faster.

2.    Dental Products

Smokers need to use special toothpaste with more abrasive ingredients than regular toothpastes; they also need to be used with more care. You may even be advised to alternate this special toothpaste with your regular one.

There are many whitening toothpastes available in the market. They may be effective in getting rid of some staining, even though the natural colour of your teeth will not be affected.

3.    Mouthwash

To get rid of bad breath, smokers may need to use fresh breath products such as mouthwashes to disguise the issue. But this is a short-term solution, not a cure.

4.    Visiting a Dentist

Visiting a dentist regularly for a complete check-up and full-mouth examination ensures that you get the best treatment available. To cure teeth discolouration, you may need to visit your dentist more frequently.

5.    Extra Treatment

If necessary, you may need to consult a hygienist recommended by your dentist.  A thorough cleaning is the best possible outcome once damage has occurred.

 A healthy smile is something we all desire. Routine brushing is only half the solution to maintaining your oral health as it does not help remove stains or reduce halitosis. That requires a more thorough dental cleaning, for which it is best to seek professional dental care.

This entry was posted in Dentistry on Dusk on November 27, 2019.

Dental Clinic Brampton

(Chinguacousy Rd. / Dusk Dr.)
55 Dusk Drive (Unit #2)
Brampton, Ontario, L6Y 5Z6

Phone: 905-453-7777